To whom does this latest devastating attack on Gaza apply? The most powerful and powerful army in the region is directing its power against refugees and their descendants. Some were evicted from their homes in 1948, others in 1967. Why were they evicted from their homes? Because they are Palestinians. Therein lies the root of the tragedy.
The asymmetry does not only exist in terms of military power between Israel and the piecemeal resistance groups of the Palestinians. It exists above all with regard to the human rights situation. One of these rights is the right to self-defense. After decades of oppression before the eyes of the"international community".
This situation was only created when, in 1947, countries outside the region decided to divide Palestine – against the will of the majority of its inhabitants and its neighbouring states. No one has a moral right to dictate to the oppressed how to defend themselves. Palestinians would not have fired homemade rockets at Israel had they been allowed to possess sophisticated weapons that they could have aimed at military installations. But in today’s neocolonial world, some may have sophisticated weapons, others may not.
When some of these primitive rockets landed in Tel Aviv – a block away from my daughter’s home, by the way-the Israelis were awakened from a dangerous slumber. Many of them lived in a bubble, enjoyed beach life, cafes and other amenities of a high standard of living, while a few minutes ' drive away 95 percent of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip – half of them children – do not have access to clean water.
Israel has become a prosperous country, it has climbed to the 20th place in the world in terms of per capita income. The quality of life is high and the vast majority of Israelis do not even notice the fate of the Palestinians. The situation is similar to other cases of settler colonialism such as South Africa, and it is only logical that comparisons between Israel’s rule and apartheid are increasingly being forced upon them.
The Zionist founding fathers called the “afrada”, Separation. This policy deprived the Palestinians of work in the 1920s. Later, when the Zionists established their state, thousands of Palestinians were deprived of their homes. The policy of gaining “a maximum of territory with a minimum of Arabs” has been pursued since that time. This strategy has caused the current fire, this time when Zionist settlers came to expel native Palestinians in Jerusalem. Why does the Israeli state repeatedly discriminate, expel and kill Palestinians? Because they happen to stand in the way of the Zionist project of building a “Jewish state.” In other words, the Palestinians are the “wrong” kind, even if they have lived on their land for centuries.
Often you lose sight of the big picture when you focus on a particular incident. However, it is important to see the forest behind the trees, to perceive what is behind the recent violence. Israel was built on injustice, on systematic ethnic cleansing and expulsion. Some who suffered these are Jews who were expelled from their homeland in Europe.
Pogroms in Poland and Ukraine, the National Socialist state and local variations of fascism were responsible for their expulsion. Most of these Jewish refugees are now entitled to compensation, compensation and apology. None of this is offered to the Palestinians who are losing their homes because it is in line with the political strategy of the Zionist state. The Palestinians must pay for the sins of the Europeans, many of whom enthusiastically supported Nazism.
It may be well-intentioned for Europeans to offer full support to Israel. But they confuse the Jews with the state of Israel, whose basic ideology and daily practice is ethnic dominance. Israel’s Zionist ideology assumes that only an ethnic state with a dominant Jewish majority offers Jews a true refuge. Many Jews do not share this belief, which continues to produce violence.
But this idea of ethnic purity is pleasing to many Europeans. Right-wing politicians admire Israel, an aggressive militarized state that is extremely divided socially, economically and ethnically and whose highly developed economy is open to foreign investment. Israel’s immense counterinsurgency experience – accumulated in a century of conflict with the Arabs – has been integrated into the conduct of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Mali, as well as into internal security operations. No wonder that Israel is the favourite of right-wing politicians, including those currently ruling in Vienna.
Israeli flags hoisted on public buildings do not represent a guilty conscience because of the ethnic cleansing during the Nazi years. Above all, they are a sign of solidarity with a country that many right-wing Europeans see as a bulwark against alleged Muslim expansion. If the Austrian government was concerned about innocent people being driven from their homes because of their origin, it would have supported the Palestinians. In fact, Austria supported the Palestinians during the chancellorship of Bruno Kreisky, a responsible Jewish citizen who explicitly rejected Zionism in principle, not only the aggressive policy that embodies it. Today’s European politicians would do well to cut off a slice of his courage and put an end to Israel’s impunity.